[Editor’s note: Gayle Trotter had an opportunity to sit down with radio host Steve Deace, to talk about the state of the conservative movement.]
GAYLE TROTTER: I am speaking with national radio host and author, Steve Deace. Thank you for joining me, Steve.
STEVE DEACE: Thank you.
GT: You wrote a book entitled Rules for Patriots – How Conservatives Can Win Again. Is your title based on the title of another famous book? If so, why?
SD: Absolutely it is. It is the answer to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals which has been the playbook of the left that we have seen playing out before our very eyes for the last generation. I had grown tired of being told, “You conservatives do not want to win. You do not understand the process. You do not understand what it takes to win.”
Unlike a lot of my brethren, no knock on them, I actually have worked on many campaigns. I have been a part formally or informally of campaigns from the state legislature all the way to president of the United States. I have had a chance to see the process up close and personal.
I live in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. I live right near the heart of the sausage- making factory. Because of where I live and the fact that I am based here, I know presidential candidates and a lot of their consultants and staff on a first name basis. I have a good glimpse of the process itself. When they tell us, “You guys do not know how to win,” those are mostly excuses for the fact that they really do not want to do anything or stand for anything we want them to do or stand for.
We needed a book that said, “Here is how we do what we believe.” Many great conservatives have written books about deconstructing leftist ideology and promoting conservative values. I did not think there was anything I could add to that debate. But I thought maybe I could help the debate using the experience of what I have seen work and not work by putting together practical steps for us to actually carry out our belief system. That is found in the ten commandments of political warfare that are found in Rules for Patriots.
GT: Why do you think conservatives lose elections?
SD: The number one reason conservatives lose elections is because while it is often used as an excuse, we say we do not understand the process, meaning that the establishment side of things only looks at just pure numbers. They do not really care about ideology. Recently a panel on FOX News was debating whether we should support Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney. The debate went on for five minute yet they never discussed whether either man actually deserves the presidency or what they actually believed.
It was all based on fund raising, and messaging, and endorsements. We too often only focus on someone's belief system. While that should be the primary thing we focus on, we still have to understand that we are not running for philosopher-in-chief. Just because you know conservative values and have a real great depth of understanding on topics like theology, history, and philosophy, it does not mean you can do a talk radio show like I do. You might be three, four, five times smarter than I am, but can you actually hold an audience's attention? There is a skill set that goes to doing a talk show. There is a skill set that goes to winning arguments and winning elections. We absolutely have the knowledge base.
We have the right value system. It wins every time it is tried in history. This is why political correctness was invented so that they could try and marginalize us so they would not have to risk losing debates against us anymore. But we still need to understand that there is a process and we have to understand the rules. What are the ground rules here? How do we turn those rules to our advantage? That is why we lose. It is not for any of the reasons that we are sold by almost anybody, even those pretending to be conservative on television.
All of the data is there in my book of what happened in the last presidential election. It is all footnoted. Romney did not lose for any reasons that you were being sold. It had nothing to do with the Hispanic vote. The Hispanic vote is almost solely concentrated in states either we cannot win like California or states we cannot lose like Texas. The Hispanic vote in Ohio is around three percent. It is around 2.5 percent in Virginia. Those are key battleground states a Republican presidential candidate has to win to win the presidency. The Hispanic vote is negligible in those places.
That is all an excuse from an establishment that is in favor of amnesty for their K-Street sugar daddies. You are going to learn things you probably had never heard before like Barack Obama is the first non-wartime president in American history to get re-elected despite getting fewer popular votes and fewer electoral college votes than he receive when he first ran.
The only two presidents that ever did that were Wilson and FDR when they were running during world wars. How did Obama do that? Not to mention, he lost independents nationwide. It was almost a 12 to 13 point swing from what he did with independents in 2008 to 2012. How do you lose independents? How do you lose your overall support and still get re-elected? We answer that question in Rules for Patriots.
GT: After you defended former U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, you received some appalling and deeply alarming tweets. What was your reaction? How can we expect thought leaders and politicians to stand on principle when the Internet empowers every disturbed person to reach our leaders so easily?
SD: I defended Mourdock on MSNBC. Afterwards I received a tweet stating they hoped one of my daughters would be raped so that they would know what it is like. The great irony of this, Gayle, is that my entire family line is filled with so-called exceptions. These are actual people in my family who were conceived in many of these exceptions and mothers who did go through these horrible traumas and tragedies yet decided, “I am not going to make matters worse by compounding the shame that comes with killing my own offspring on top of that.”
It is funny. They assume that anybody who expounds on and who espouses this value system believes they are better than everybody else (which is highly judgmental by the way, while they claim to be nonjudgmental). They do not understand that many times we have this value system because we have faced man's inhumanity to man.
We have faced human tragedy. We recognize there is a reason our system of government was founded on the laws of nature and nature's God. Because there is a better way than what we just do to ourselves. We need to do a better job of communicating that. We need to do a better job of being honest about what it is that really drives us and the situations we have gone through in our own personal lives and the things we faced, including the things that defeated us that we then later on had to overcome. We need to do a better job of telling our story so that it is more personal and not just philosophical.
GT: Some would say that you have extreme views on abortion. In your book you reveal that your mom was only 14 years old when you were conceived and 15 years old when you were born. How does that inform your opinion on abortion?
SD: It puts a name and a face on it. I will give you an example. I was on television when we were debating Richard Mourdock and the question about killing children conceived in rape and incest. I said to the panel I was on -- Listen. I will be happy to debate this with you philosophically provided we do one thing first. There is a friend of mine. She is an attorney in Michigan and named Rebecca Kiessling. She is married now with five children, but she was conceived in a gang rape. As long as you are willing to look into the camera here on national TV and say that Rebecca and her children, it is okay if they were never born, if we just erased them from the ledger. They did not have a right to life. You guys want to talk about women and this election year. Here is a woman. She has daughters in that group of five children, by the way. As long as you are willing to go on television right here and right now and say, “It is okay that you did not have a right to live. You are not here.” As long as you are willing to say that (which is the practical result of what you are asserting), then I am fine debating this with you philosophically.
They did not want to do that. That is really what my story does.
We joke on our show that we put the fun in fundamentalism. I am one of those crazy folks who believe the Bible is true. I tried every other belief system on the planet. I came back to the one of our forefathers. I am fine having a philosophical debate. I love it, but when we merely debate, sometimes we fail to bring home the point that these numbers are 4,000 children a day and 56 million over the last 41 years.
These are people. No one, when she gets a sonogram, has the doctor look at the pictures and say, “Here is your fetus.” They say, “Here is your baby.” No mother, when she has pledged to the father in jubilation says, “Here is our fetus. Are you not excited?” No, she says, “Hey, I am going to have a baby.”
I am 41 years old, which means my mom went through this all at the dawn of Roe v. Wade. Hers was the first generation of unwed mothers who really had a decision to make legally and lawfully. We understand in my generation, there are friends of mine who are not here, people who could have contributed to society but are not here. We are in a demographic winter. Here is why. There is a practical ramification to a philosophical debate which is we are literally killing our own future. Instead of a society that sees its future as its most precious natural resource, we are flushing ours literally down a toilet. I could have been one of those children. That means that the children that I come home to every night at the end of my show, they would not be here. We need to help people to understand.
There are people who would have been here who are not. People who might have discovered cancer. People who might have discovered a cleaner form of energy that is more easily perpetuated. We do not know. But we aborted. We killed that person. It is key that we let the culture know.
Every single one of those 56 million could have had names and had souls. There is a consequence to a society for doing that. My life is a testimony. My mom would have told you it was the hardest decision she ever made. Now she would tell you 41 years later, I am the best mistake she ever made. We do not know. When we play God and we think in the here and now, we do not really understand. We are making a decision that lasts for a lifetime.
GT: Your book sets forth ten commandments for conservatives. The first commandment is to never trust Republicrat. What is a Republicrat and why are they untrustworthy?
SD: What you saw last week in the United States House of Representatives is a perfect example of what I am talking about. We use the term RINO so often, I do not know what it means anymore. The reality is most Republicans that get elected do not get elected as RINOs. RINOs are like Chris Christie, someone who is really a liberal but you become a Republican in a blue state because the Democrat team does not have any roster spots left. RINOs are almost always from a blue states. There is not really a RINO from Texas or Oklahoma. You cannot get elected being a RINO down there. You cannot even get elected being anti-second amendment as a Democrat down there.
What the consultants figured out is after the Reagan era, they began to slowly but surely figure out there is a certain way to talk to our people and to patronize them, and to condescend them which is essentially adopt all of their talking points. Get elected on those talking points, then when you go to Washington, govern the way that you are going to govern anyway and just hope that people are not informed enough to know what is going on.
They cannot hold you accountable. You can always just blame on the Democrats. It is their fault that we cannot do anything. That worked for a long time. Republicans have won a lot of elections here at the last 40 years.
SD: But how come the government is bigger than it has ever been? How come we are not even slowing down the rate of growth to where the left wants to take us? These folks are small “p” progressives. They understand how to lie to us, how to condescend us, how to show up at CPAC waving a gun, how to show up in some hunting gear. Then you go and you get to Washington.
You join the ruling class. You govern accordingly. That worked for a long time. But what is really hurting those efforts now is the new technology. People are now better informed because of social media and the growth of digital technologies and mobile platforms than ever before. That is exposing these fig leaves. That is the number one reason you are seeing the Republican party on the precipice of splitting right in half. The base now finding out what it long suspected was true. It can actually prove it now that these people have been lying to us all along. They have almost no intention of carrying out anything they promised. You just saw this play itself out with the Sanctity of Life vote that did not happen in the House last week.
GT: For commandment two you use the image of a football receiver with alligator arms. What is commandment two and why does the image perfectly illustrate it?
SD: Commandment two is never attack what you are not willing to kill. This is one of the biggest mistakes we make. I use the example of alligator arms in football. Alligators have those short little arms. We call it alligator arms in football when the receiver has to go over the middle to catch a pass and can sense that he is about to get hit. He does not fully extend his arms out there to catch that ball, but he just sticks them out a little bit like alligator arms and does not catch the ball. Here is what often happens though. Even if you do that, the person coming up behind you that you know is going to hit you hard, he does not. He cannot see whether you caught the ball or not.
He is coached to hit you nonetheless. This is why a lot of times when you watch football, you see a huge collision even on plays where the pass is incomplete. The defender is taught play the man and not the ball. You get hit the same whether you catch the ball or not. Gosh darn it, if you are going to do that, you might as well catch it. Otherwise, what was the point? That is the illustration I use for “Never attack what you are not willing to kill.” A lot of times we think we will just pull up short of going for the kill shot. They will stay nice things about us. They will not.
Look at John McCain in 2008. In 2000, he ran for president, but John McCain did not want to overturn Roe v. Wade. John McCain fought the conservative base for the next eight years every chance he had in the U.S. Senate. Every time George W. Bush tried to do something remotely conservative, John McCain stymied it. Yet the liberal media, they loved him. But the minute he got the Republican nomination in 2008, the very next day, he was the worst pro-lifer we have ever nominated. He was the worst income inequality candidate we have ever had. We need to learn from that.
GT: “Never accept the premise of your opponent's argument,” you urge as commandment three. Give an example of when you have successfully employed those commandments.
SD: I get interview requests from liberal media all of the time. A lot of times they want to ask me questions from their premise. I will not use their language. It is not pro-life or pro-choice. There is pro-killing and pro-life. I will literally change the language when I talk to them.
When I give them quotes that they are going to use (I do not care if it is the Washington Post or any other publication), I never allow them talking points that come from their mindset, regardless of the issue. We make this mistake all of the time. What ends up happening is we are literally verbalizing the other side's arguments. We argue about immigration reform. Not immigration reform; it is amnesty, call it what it is. Use your own talking points. Do not accept their premise.
You do not have to be Ted Cruz, a world-renowned college debate champion. Anybody who has spent five minutes in any sort of philosophical exercise can attest to this. Whoever's premise gets argued is going to win the argument every time. It may take three minutes. It might take 50 years. But if your premise is the one that is established, you are going to win that argument. This is why they change the language on us. We cannot go along with that. When we do that, we play right into their hands.
Then you look at the arguments that we make sometimes. I remember a few years ago when we were fighting over whether to pass Obamacare or not. Many Republicans said, “We cannot afford it and that is why we should not be for it.” We are too much in debt. Let us just pretend we were not in debt. Let us just say we had an $18 trillion surplus instead of an $18 trillion dollar debt. Would it still be okay then to have the largest subsidy of abortion in the history of the U.S. government? Would it still be okay then to raise people's insurance rates up to 30 percent across the board? Would it still be okay then to cost a lot of people their insurance plans? Would it be okay then? Would this be constitutional then? Would it still be legal to have the government order you to buy something whether you want it or not? Would that still be constitutional and moral, if we could afford it? That is a terrible premise. Oftentimes we make arguments almost like we are ashamed of our own belief system. We make arguments that get around trying to establish our premise, and instead just try to argue down the premise of the other side. You are going to lose that every single time. It is like a taste great, less filing debate, if you remember those commercials from when we were kids.
GT: Commandment four counsels never to surrender the moral high ground. On what issue do you think Republicans have most spectacularly failed by surrendering the moral high ground?
SD: The life issue, unquestionably. I understand the whole burning building analogy. You have to understand here that you are not just doing public policy. You are determining an argument. The left would never put forth a bill that said you can marry your same sex partner only on one Thursday a year from 1:00 to 3:00 a.m. The rest of the time, it is illegal to do so. They would never do that. They would begin with their premise first. They would lead with their premise first. They would establish that they think it is an injustice that you cannot marry your same sex partner. It is wrong.
People who do that are wicked, bigots even. They would establish their premise. They would argue them. They would claim they have the moral high ground. They would never give it up in their talking points even if they are cutting a deal along the way to get to where they ultimately want to go. Their talking points never change. They are always claiming the moral high ground of their argument. We do not do that on the greatest moral crisis of this age. Without Roe v. Wade, there would have never been a Ronald Reagan presidency. Catholics never voted Republican prior to Roe v. Wade. They were almost all Democrats and evangelicals did not even vote a lot of times. They were waiting to be raptured.
What created Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority was the Roe v. Wade issue. That is what gave Republicans 40 to 50 percent of the Catholic vote. This issue is what gave Republicans huge dominance of the evangelical vote. It created the Reagan Revolution. It is the third and biggest leg of the stool. Yet, despite all of that political prominence and cache, we have been on the defensive on this issue philosophically in the political arena. The reason why is because of the way we frame our arguments. Look at the legislation that we put up there last week. We put up legislation that exempts pregnancies from rape or incest, that are conceived that way. Right away, we are agreeing that a child conceived in rape or incest is a second-class citizen.
That is what we are saying. It is okay to not want that kid. If that is what we believe, then do not tell people on the same token that all life is precious. Every life is a gift from God. Life begins for everybody at conception. When you put forth legislation that undercuts that, you undercut your own argument. Then look what happened. Some people are going to say, “Steve, we have to do that because of the polling on rape and incest.”
I worked on a lot of marriage issues in my own state. I have been a part of efforts around the country on the marriage issue. I watched the homosexual lobby lose 32 consecutive elections, 32. They lost 32 consecutive elections. They never changed their terms. They never bent to the whims of the culture. They never listened to what public opinion polls were. I remember being on MSNBC as a contributor the day that we creamed them on the North Carolina marriage vote by over 60 percent. Man, their broadcast that day, it was “Yes, we lost this one. But tomorrow, we are wining it all.”
We have got the right argument. We are not watering it down. We are not getting off our moral high horse. They do not do that. We do. We are the ones that look at polls and say just how far can we push what we actually believe as opposed to look at polls and say that is who we need to go and convince, and change minds. Now we are at a point that we are watering down our belief system.
We cannot even get the Republicans to go with that. They will not even give us now watered down milquetoast. They will even betray us. It just goes to show that ultimately, we are doing a phenomenal job of closing down abortion clinics. We have the fewest per capita nationwide open that we have had since Roe v. Wade itself.
We have made huge gains in the movement. I am a living testimony to the arguments that some of the things that we have done that have been successful. But if you ultimately want to end this, then the goal is to end it. If you really just want to regulate it, then be honest about that. But if you really want to end it; if that is your sincere conviction (it is mine), then you have got to make the argument that you have to set the moral high ground. All life is precious. All life is sacred. Here is why. I am not surrendering that. That is exactly how the left has beaten us on all of these issues. They never water down their moral high ground. They never surrender it. But we do all of the time.
GT: You suggest using jiu-jitsu to turn an opponent's move back on him in commandment five. I quote from your book. “If the welfare state really meant compassion, then how come Democrats are not bragging about the fact there are currently more Americans on food stamps than the population in Spain? Should they not be holding press junkets to boast their plan is working and we are the most compassionate society we have ever been?”
SD: Jiu-jitsu is a form of martial arts where you use your opponents' strengths against them. Or, as Shakespeare used to put it, hoisting someone from their own petard. Reagan was a master at this. That is a very clever winsome way to make points without looking like bony-finger pointing guy. One of the things that the leftists figured out is if it is funny and you make fun of somebody in a way that does not get too personal, but exposes the ridiculousness of what they are asserting, then, man, they give you carte blanche to carve them up.
In my opinion, as someone who is in his legacy, none of us would have jobs without Rush Limbaugh's success. He trail-blazed the industry. This is the secret to Rush’s success in my view, having listened to him a lot growing up and comparing him to other broadcasters. He knocked down a lot of doors.
You have got to have a skill that disarms your opponents. Rush’s ability to winsomely turn the premise of the other side against them and make you laugh at them while is you are doing it, that is the secret to his success. Obviously, he is smart and knows his stuff. He has got the classic radio voice. But that is the secret sauce there. If we are going to have an argument on a national stage, we need to look for winsome people to represent us that can do exactly that.
There was an recent example of this involving HBO’s True Blood. It had an episode where some vampires came in to a Ted Cruz fundraiser and murdered everybody. They asked Ted Cruz about the episode. He turned it around and he said, I guess what we are saying here is that Democrats really are bloodsucking vampires.
He winsomely turned it around on people and made everybody laugh. That is a far more effective communication tool than standing up there with your deep baritone voice. If it is funny, people will let you get away with it. If you can turn people's premises around and put the noose around their own neck with it, they let you get away with going ahead and kicking the chair out from underneath them. We need to get communicators who are better at doing that.
GT: In contrast to that strategy, Republican MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said, “Just shut the hell up. You can stay in your mother's basement. You can eat your Cheetos. You can type on your dingy laptop. That is all you have got, but not the future of the Republican Party. Just keep screaming at your walls downstairs. Your day is done.” Who is Joe Scarborough talking about and which commandment does this illustrate?
SD: This illustrates the commandment to never abandon your base. He is talking about the people that put Joe Scarborough where he is. I am 41 years old now which means tragically I am getting to the age where I can actually say I am old enough to remember when Joe Scarborough was one of the chief lieutenants of the Newt Gingrich conservative revolution.
SD: We do this a lot. The base of the Republican Party is like that classic Lifetime movie plot. A pretty young girl discovers a very bright young man in high school or college whom she is attracted to. They get married. She works while he is going to med school so he can finish off his education. She is slumming away at a diner and getting bad tips and getting her rear end slapped by grimy guys.
Then, he finally gets through school and starts a medical practice. He becomes successful. Then, 10 or 15 years go by. She has had a few kids. Obviously that changes your entire body chemistry when that happens. He hires a hot young secretary. Now that he has made it, he has decided to trade you in for the younger model.
We, the Republican base, are that woman. We made people like Joe Scarborough millions of dollars only to have them then take the platforms that we made them and turn them against us. Pat Toomey voted for man-made global warming. The year before, Pat Toomey was part of the Toomey-Manchin gun grab in the U.S. Senate. Remember when the conservative movement had an absolute meltdown on Rick Santorum for endorsing Arlen Specter instead of Toomey? Toomey is in there and just giving us the same votes we would have gotten from Arlen Specter if he were still alive.
This is another example of how we bleed for these people. We die for these people. We put these people where they are at only to see them then once they get in there, turn on us. This is why the Republicans always fight a two front war. Napoleon had something to say about that by the way. There has only been one nation and empire in world history that has successfully fought two front wars, us.
We did it in World War II. No other empire has successfully been able to do it because what ends up happening is you are fighting your rear flank and fighting your front one. That is why the Republicans find themselves in this position. They abandon their base all of the time. I am still debating with callers a week before the election whether we should vote for Romney or not. The chances are if you are still debating the people most likely to vote for you, and whether they will vote for you, you are probably not going to win.
This never happens on the other side. They are not ashamed of their base. They do not undercut their base. In fact, I believe the leadership of the Democrat parties is to the left of where most Democrats are. What you have in the Republican Party is the leadership is to the left of where most Republicans are. This creates all of the tension that we see all of the time. The Republican leadership ends up fighting its own base harder than it fights the Democrats.
GT: You note in your book that 1950’s behavior like getting and keeping a job, paying your own way, staying married to the same person until one of you dies, having a lot of kids and going to church is now edgy. How does that relate to commandment seven to define your opponent and define yourself before your opponent does?
SD: That is just a simple marketing technique. Look at the Duggars. They are a cultural phenomenon. Twenty years ago, we would have mocked them. We would have laughed at them. They would have been an anomaly even amongst a lot of conservatives. But in this day and age because we are in a position where everybody is out now having sex with every animate object they can find, the cool, trendy, edgy thing is to do what the Duggars do. They have created an entire cottage industry, a cultural phenomenon surrounding that. Duck Dynasty is another example.
I can get smut anywhere. Give me something different. We are now of the avant-garde. We are now edgy. We are now the revolutionaries. I think that is an excellent place to be especially if you want to reach young people. No matter what generation or what era it is, all of us when we are young want to believe that what our parents taught us was not true. There must be some way to undo the damage the previous generation did to the world. Then that generation is scared to death that the next generation is going to undo all of the good that they accomplished.
That is just the human condition in any culture or any civilization, any belief system. But what has really happened here though is that the people that took over from the counter culture, they are now running the show. They are in charge of all of the cultural institutions. My generation, we are their children. There is a huge opportunity to repackage, to reintroduce our belief system to those folks. What I found is that they are really not hostile to what we believe. They are ignorant of it. They have not been taught a lot of what we are about. This is a chance for us to actually market ourselves and introduce ourselves. They are really not big on institutions.
You are not going to get people to join a Republican revival. They do not trust political parties. They really do not like hypocrisy. The number one thing they cannot stand is a hypocrite. We are going to have to be consistent in our belief system. We are going to have to say, “If we are pro-life, that means if the Republicans are not pro-life, we turn on them, too.” We are going to have to make a decision in how we present ourselves and define ourselves which is “Do we want to define ourselves in the way that previous generations did?”
If we do, we will fail because that will not reach the emerging generations. Or, are we willing to define ourselves without changing our principles. But are we willing to actually apply them in a way that will reach those next generations? Because when we do not, that is how we fall right into what the left does to us. “You are a bunch of racist misogynists, hypocritical homophobe xenophobes.” We play into that stereotype too often, by the way.
GT: How did Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell violate the commandment to stay on message?
SD: Do you remember the infamous ad she ran? “I am not a witch.”
SD: That campaign was over three seconds after that ad ran because what it did is it changed the narrative. The whole topic then became her and what she said to Bill Maher when she was a teenager about dabbling in witchcraft. That fed the zeitgeist that Karl Rove was trying to use the under cut her on FOX News. That was not the message that got her elected. The message that won her that primary is, “We are going to go to Washington. We are going to change things. We are going to change the way that government relates to you. We are going to change the size and scope of government. We are actually going to offer the country a contrast to the other side.”
If that is your message, if that is your wheelhouse, if that is what you are comfortable with, do not ever deviate from it. We do that too often. There is a story in the Bible of a man named Nehemiah who was sent by God to go back and rebuild the walls of his civilization. When they started establishing the foundation for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, these two men (what we today would call trolls) named Sanballat and Tobiah kept urging Nehemiah and his associates to come down from the wall. They urge, “Let us talk. Let us have a debate. Are you sure you are allowed to do this? We should be discussing this more in depth.”
Nehemiah never comes down from the wall. Never; instead he continues to build the wall. He realizes these guys are trolls. Do not feed trolls. This is an attempt to get me off task, and to get me off message, and to have me be distracted and really worn down. These guys are just going to beat on me the entire time. They are going to just wear me down and wear down the energy level that I have. Then I am now not just distracted, but I am depleted when it comes to actually performing the task at hand.
That is how the media works. Most people that would even remotely consider voting for us do not consume media, especially mainstream media. I have worked in mainstream media. I know what numbers are. I can see how many Twitter followers you get after you appear on Breitbart News as opposed to how many you get after you appear on CNN. Almost nobody that would ever consider voting for us cares what Anderson Cooper thinks, nobody. Almost nobody who would ever consider voting for us even knows. I did not know who Chris Hayes was. I did not know who Ronan Farrow was. I was like who the hell is Ronan Farrow? I did not know and neither will almost anybody.
Outside, there is a great big would in the middle of America that has no clue and does not care. But we let these people distract us all of the time.
We let them get us off message all of the time. I think of Rick Santorum in the last presidential primary. Just when he is about gathering momentum, he decides to spend a month talking about birth control on every talk show. Why, I do not know. I even asked him, “Why are you doing it?” He responded, “They keep bringing it up.”
Why do you have to answer? Change the damn topic. It is on purpose. It is like that theme in Star Wars at the end when Luke Skywalker is in the Death Star trench.
SD: All of these guns are going off. He is looking around. He sees all of these bright lights. There is a little voice inside his comlink that says stay on target. You just stay on target and let the people around you that you put in place to do their jobs do theirs. You do yours.
GT: President Obama, a lover of basketball has repeatedly stated that he is staying on offense for the fourth quarter of his presidency. In commandment ten, you tell conservatives to stay on offense, too. Who do you think currently does this best on the national stage?
SD: It is Cruz. The two fastest ascendancies we have ever seen in politics in our lifetime are Ben Carson and Ted Cruz for totally different reasons. Cruz has been groomed for this. His life was preparation to eventually do what he is now doing. But it has all come together probably about a decade before most people thought. It is because our people have rallied to him because they see that he plays offense, that he stands up there and challenges the entire Democrat caucus after the Hobby Lobby decision on the First Amendment. He stands up there after 23 hours in a filibuster and says to Harry Reid, “I will not yield to you until you yield to the American people.” That is what they have been waiting for. Yes, he is extraordinarily gifted.
There is no question about that. But it should not be possible despite that. Given the numbers, his success this early is a testimony to how worthless most of his peers are. It is because most of those guys sit up there and huddle together. How do we cover our own asses? Cruz sits up there with his team and says how do we kick their asses? That is the difference.
GT: This is my final question. One of Reagan's steps on his climb to the presidency involved radio addresses. Do you have any national political aspirations?
SD: I do not know about national. I have always told our audience I can certainly see myself running for office one day. I have that fire in the belly and for two reasons. One, I am concerned about the future of our kids. Number two is, I would just love to see what would happen if we ran people who could actually defend what we believe and did not really break down in the fetal position every time on the left disagreed with them. What would happen?
Again, that is one of the attractions of someone like Ted Cruz. To me, the position I am interested in is governor. The states are going to be last line of defense. Washington is on the precipice of the point of no return. Drain the swamp; nuclear winter or start over. Nothing lives here for 75 years while we reset the water table. A governor exists to protect your liberties. That is our last line of defense for American exceptionalism. That is where you can really wield true power of checks and balances.
GT: Thank you very much for your time discussing your thoughtful book.
SD: Thank you very much, Gayle.